Well, well, well! If it isn’t our beleaguered rideshare giant Uber reporting yet another quarter of continued losses after its disastrous IPO earlier this year. In its earnings report released Friday, the company said it burned through more than $7 billion — its largest losses to date.
Uber is spending money at an absolutely incomprehensible rate. But its net losses this quarter far exceeded even generous estimations for a company that has charitably dubbed 2019 an “investment year.” Uber’s reported revenue came in at $US3.17 ($5) billion, with adjusted losses of $US5.24 ($7) billion. Still, Uber seems to be taking a glass-half-full approach to this whole losing money in perpetuity thing.
“Our platform strategy continues to deliver strong results, with Trips up 35 per cent and Gross Bookings up 37 per cent in constant currency, compared to the second quarter of last year,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “In July, the Uber platform reached over 100 million Monthly Active Platform Consumers for the first time, as we become a more and more integral part of everyday life in cities around the world.”
Uber’s plan to continue setting fire to money indefinitely will end, by its own wildly optimistic goal, with the company becoming the “Amazon for transportation.”
After all, Amazon, too, lost a fuck load of money initially after going public, but it now rakes in stupid amounts of profit. But Amazon was making investments along the way that had real value at the time and still have real value — investments like owning a warehouse. Uber’s real bet for profitability lies in the widespread adaption of a technology for which a timeline is elusive at best: self-driving cars.
Pick a number of years and you can probably find someone estimating that’s how long it’ll take to get fully autonomous cars on the road. How about 2019, could a car have the capability of driving itself by then? If you ask Tesla, the answer is yes with some caveats.
In 2017, investment firm Loup Ventures calculated that self-driving cars would become a reality some time closer to 2040. A few years ago, Uber’s founder, Travis Kalanick, said that he thinks Uber’s fleet will be autonomous by 2030. And then there are some experts and engineers who believe that this whole idea is turning out to be a pipe dream.
But Uber can take heart in the knowledge that it’s not alone when it comes to world-changing Silicon Valley mirages that severely disappoint the public. On Friday, Bloomberg tallied the performance of the most highly valued young technology companies that have recently gone public and found that Pinterest was the only one that with an increase in its stock price since its IPO. The humble mood board-loving social network has seen its price increase by a very nice 69 per cent.
And it managed to do that without fucking over workers, tearing apart the fabric of society, or even being a thing that anyone gives much thought to on a regular basis. How about that?